My Dad, Tony Caputo, Retires

TonyCaputoI have always said that I love my job at Caputo’s. And I’ve always said that’s it’s because of my endless capacity to learn about and adore cheese, chocolate, and the Old World traditions we support. I certainly do feel a deep passion for all those things, but I think I was wrong about why I have loved my job so much.

Caputo’s opened 18 years ago with a commitment to selling the best imported and locally-produced foods to Salt Lake City and beyond. I was obviously there then, and I’ve been working here since as long as I could lift boxes. But over the last seven years, I started taking on more and more significant responsibility from my dad. As the portions of the business in my hands grew, I started spending less time on the floor. That was less time working with cheese, less time with my dad, and less time with the crew of cheese mongers and sandwich slingers who I had grown to also think of as family—many were, and are.

Last year around this time of year, my dad (semi) retired. It’s taken me that long to realize it, but it actually wasn’t my love for food that made my job the best in the world. It was that I got to hang out with my dad all the time.

Don’t get me wrong, I have found new reasons to be passionate and certainly do better financially nowadays, but as I think about Father’s Day and Tony’s retirement, what I wouldn’t do to just sweep the floor while listening to my dad BS with customers again. Even if just for a week. It’s the small moments that make me proud. Proud to work here. Proud to be Tony’s son.

They always say that you never know what you have till it’s gone, and it’s true. Through all that ambition for our store, I wish I would have known to appreciate what was really going on.

Tony and MattLuckily, he’s only retired and still around and in good health. Now, I just need to find a new excuse to hang out with him so much. I know I’ll make it happen. It’s the rest of you I feel bad for. I am no replacement for Tony Caputo. In so many ways our place will never be the same. But we’ve all learned so much from Tony, and I think that’s the best thing a dad and a boss can do.

Happy Father’s Day, and Happy Retirement to my dad.

7 replies on “My Dad, Tony Caputo, Retires

  • Clark Phelos

    Kudos to you Matt – you have taken the wonderful store your dad started an expanded not only in locations but in products. I have known your Mom & Dad for almost 50 years and am always been impressed with Tony’s work ethic. Years ago when he was manager of a family Italian restaurant, he would come out and chitchat with us but always bring some project that he could sit with us so he wasn’t wasting time. Sometimes it was a ledger that he would Peruse while talking to us, other times it was flatware and the napkins that he would wrap up for the days guests. One morning, early at about 7 AM, I drove by the market and Tony himself, over 60 years old, was out in the parking lot with a leaf blower. He could’ve the easily hired somebody to do it, but his work ethic just drove him to be busy. It will be curious if he can retire. I love your mother and dad and I’m so happy that they are enjoying themselves with travel.

  • Matthew Hamby

    Classy, Matt, and very well said. It is an honor to associate with someone who is such an expert in his profession, but who also is an excellent person, with keen personal insight.
    I wish you and your father many more years of happiness and success.

  • Ann Burek

    My children and I have had the pleasure of being guests of Tony and Mary at their home. The ‘Food from Corsica’ cooking class was a highlight of our visit. Tony’s warmth and enthusiasm and love of people is evident in every moment. He taught us the magic of artichokes and limoncello. Matt you are a living tribute to your parents and will continue his great tradition of hospitality! All the best Tony!

  • Jane Bauer

    Tony has got to be proud of you, too. He never would have retired if the business wasn’t in great hands. Like father, like son.
    I’m so happy he will enjoy more time with your mother, traveling and enjoying life. He deserves it.

  • Liz Butcher

    Your dad will be missed by many, I hope he knows that. He established a fantastic business and ran it for years; when we shopped there we were treated like family by him, and I am sure that our family is not alone. Caputo’s was a rarity, and I am glad to have known him. You are right, you are lucky . . . Kudos

  • Dennis Winge

    Hi Matt

    I wanted to mentioned a concern I have on the Holladay Caputo’s store. The last two times I have been there, it has been a very frustrating experience with service. Each time I was there to buy a selection of cheeses. I am so impressed with the fabulous service at the downtown store, but the Holladay store has been a different matter. It doesn’t seem as if they have an attitude of “customers come first”. I had to wait an exceptionally long time even thought some employees were standing near the back talking and one was washing dishes. Only one person was at the cheese counter and was busy. Finally one employee came walking down along the case and still didn’t ask whether I had been helped. That would never have happened at the downtown store. A week ago I had a very similar experience at the Holladay store. I am afraid continuation of this bad service will lead to loss of customers. I may need to continue to shop at your downtown store, even though we live in Holladay.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.